Friday, December 05, 2008

Bowl projections

With Rutgers' beatdown of Louisville last night, the Irish have been officially kicked out of the Big East bowl rotation and are left blowing in the wind waiting for an at-large invitation to a bowl game. Notre Dame is still Notre Dame, however, and will get several invitations. Here are the possibilities:

Texas Christian University Horned Frogs (10-2, 7-1 MWC, MWC #2)
Qualcomm Stadium (71,294 capacity), San Diego, CA
December 23, 2008 8:00 p.m. (ESPN)
Payout: $750,000

The second highest profile matchup would probably be here, where TCU was projected as a potential BCS buster all year, but fell just short, losing to an undefeated Utah team and #2 Oklahoma. Would help with recruiting in Southern Cal, but may not be the matchup we're looking for to break our bowl losing streak. And it's very early in the bowl season.

University of Hawai'i Warriors (7-5, 5-3 WAC, WAC #2)
Aloha Stadium (50,000 capacity), Honolulu, Hawai'i
December 24, 2008 8:00 p.m. (ESPN)
Payout: $398,000

A winnable game in beautiful Hawai'i, which happens to be the home state of a certain linebacker the Irish have been courting in this year's recruiting class. A very winnable game and a beautiful venue. If the Irish are looking primarily to end their bowl winning streak, this would be the game I'd choose. A low payout, however, may make this less attractive.

Ball State University Cardinals (12-0, 8-0 MAC, MAC Champions)
Ford Field (70,000 capacity), Detroit, MI
December 26, 2008 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Payout: $750,000

The highest profile matchup available, this game usually gives the MAC champion a shot at the #7 Big Ten team. However, with 2 Big Ten teams potentially in the BCS, there won't be enough to fill their bowl affiliations. Assuming a win over Buffalo in the MAC Championship, Ball State will be here. With Ball State shut out of the BCS despite an undefeated season, there will be quite a bit of hype around this game already. When you take Indiana's premier college football team and match it up against the young upstart team that's used to being the state's whipping boy? It's got my vote. I really like this game because I don't know how good Ball State really is - their best wins are over Indiana and Navy.

Good question - both slots will be filled with at-large teams, as the SEC and Big 12 don't have enough bowl teams to fill this game.
Independence Stadium (53,000 capacity), Shreveport, LA
December 28, 2008 8:00 p.m. (ESPN)
Payout: $1.1 million

This game is intriguing, because it has the largest payout, and nobody seems to know exactly who the opponent will be. Also, the Irish have played in the Independence Bowl before (vs. LSU), so there is some history there that they could use for cover in seeking the payday. I think that ultimately, whether the Irish choose this game or not depends on the caliber of opponent they can attract. We're not gonna play Louisiana-Lafayette here. No way, no how.

Big East #4
Legion Field (71,594 capacity), Birmingham, Alabama
December 29, 2008 3:00 p.m. (ESPN)
Payout: $300,000

This game would match us with the Big East #4 team, which could be any number of teams, depending upon the outcome of this week's games. I don't think there is much chance of playing in this game, as the payout is too low, the opponent too dull, and the location less than appealing. It's also an afternoon start. A non-starter, but technically on the list. The only redeeming quality is that it would be a game against a BCS opponent from a conference we are closely affiliated with.

Rice University Owls (9-3, 7-1 C-USA, C-USA #3)
Reliant Stadium (71,500 capacity), Houston, Texas
December 30, 8 p.m. (NFL Network)
Payout: $750,000

This is the game most of the prognosticators are predicting us to go to, although I'm not sure why. Rice has already accepted this bid, and I'm not stoked about playing a mediocre team from C-USA. If we do accept, it's only because we think we can win, and Texas is fertile recruiting grounds. And it's the closest to New Year's we can get. Worst thing about it is that the game will be on the NFL Network, which isn't widely available. Yawn.

UPDATE: I didn't see this before, but apparently Louisiana Tech has already accepted a bid in the Independence Bowl. I'm not impressed, and would take that bowl out of consideration for the Irish.

UPDATE: Ball State lost in the MAC Championship, so now Buffalo would be the team in the Motor City bowl. This makes the Hawai'i Bowl and Poinsettia Bowls the best options in my opinion. More as the results roll in.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

No hard feelings?

Mike Coffey at NDNation summed up for me pretty well how I feel about the current coaching situation at Notre Dame.

I want Charlie Weis to succeed at Notre Dame.

In fact, my "off with his head" mentality has gotten me into hot water with friends who are vehement Weis defenders. But I felt then (as I do now) that accountability demanded that Coach Weis should not have been kept as head coach.

But I have no interest in seeing Coach Weis fail. In fact, I want nothing more than to be proven wrong and to have Coach Weis come in next year and win the national title. Everyone that knows me knows that I live and die each week by what happens to the Notre Dame football team. Notre Dame is in my blood, and I could no sooner wish ill on the program, or worse yet stop cheering for my Irish, than I could pluck out my own eye or disown a family member. It's just not going to happen.

And I'm willing to eat crow for calling for his dismissal if that should happen. I'll take all of the accusations about being too quick to judge and for not having enough faith in Coach Weis, Savior of Notre Dame Football. But I call it like I see it, and am more than willing to admit when I'm wrong.

I am encouraged by the recent interviews Jack Swarbrick has had about the future of the program. He's a smart guy, and has had great success in negotiating in the past. I'm sure that, whatever the specifics of the conversation he had with Coach Weis were, he's got a plan he thinks will work. And if the guy that brought the Superbowl to snowy Indianapolis has a plan that he thinks will work, I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for now.

More encouraging (if true) is that Swarbrick said that Coach Weis was on the same page during their meeting. That he knew what steps needed to be taken to move forward, and they were in complete agreement.

They say great minds think alike. Let's just hope against hope it's not the blind leading the blind, as both men had no experience going into their current positions. For better or for worse, Swarbrick has hitched himself to the Charlie Weis bandwagon, and will live or die by that decision.

I'm looking forward to what the offseason holds as far as changes go. It's kind of like Secret Santa - you have no idea what's in store for you, and no idea whether the gifts will suck or not. But you're still excited about unwrapping it.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

It's Official: Coach Weis to return in '09

The University, shortly after reports came out that they would not confirm that Weis would be retianed, quickly scrambled to confirm Weis' retention today to put an end to all of the speculation that obsessed rumor mongering fans (like myself) were running with in the absence of actual confirmation. Here's the text of the release:

NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Charlie Weis will continue as head football coach at the University of Notre Dame, University athletics director Jack Swarbrick announced today (Dec. 3).

Swarbrick, who made the decision in consultation with University president Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., met with Weis in California on Tuesday to review this past season, discuss plans for 2009 and communicate his decision.

“Though this past season fell short of the expectations that all of us have for our football program, I am confident that Charlie has a strong foundation in place for future success and that the best course of action is to move forward under his leadership,” said Swarbrick.

“He, I and the others involved in leading our football program are committed to doing everything necessary to ensure a successful 2009 season. We are examining every aspect of the program and will make changes wherever we think they are needed.”

Weis’ four-season record at Notre Dame is 28-21 ? after his first two Irish teams in ’05 and ’06 finished 9-3 and 10-3, respectively, and made Bowl Championship Series appearances. The Football Writers Association of America named Weis its 2005 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award winner as the national college coach of the year.

A 1978 Notre Dame graduate, Weis previously spent five seasons (2000-04) as the New England Patriots offensive coordinator and helped that franchise to three Super Bowl championships during his tenure. He also was a member of the New York Giants staff during the 1990 Super Bowl championship season.

What I find most interesting from the piece is where Swarbrick states "We are examining every aspect of the program and will make changes wherever we think they are needed." Hopefully, this means that there will be staff changes in the offseason, rather than sticking with what doesn't work out of some misguided duty to protect his failing staff members from becoming scapegoats.

If Coach Weis won't take the fall for the failures of the last two seasons, someone has to. Keeping an entire underperforming staff on board would be a horrible idea, and I hope that the powers that be will make as many of these changes as possible before the bowl game, so the new coaches can come in and take advantage of the extra month of practice.

No confirmation as yet

While it has been widely reported by credible sources (Mike Frank of Irish Eyes, WNDU, South Bend Tribune) that Weis will return this year, the University is in no hurry to make such an announcement. According to WNDU:

Heisler did not confirm nor deny that Weis is returning. He reiterated what he said Tuesday night that the university would communicate when there is something to communicate. Phone calls to Swarbrick have not been returned.

So, while it looks like Charlie will return, I don't think that Weis' staff will remain in place.

Interesting that Swarbrick is on the West Coast. Know who else is on the west coast? Norm Chow, arguably the most qualified offensive coordinator in the game. Of course, this is more rampant speculation and conjecture on my part, and Chow just started his stint at UCLA. But the consensus seems to be that Weis needs an experienced college offensive coordinator to get this ship righted.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Weis back in the saddle

Apparently, my dreams of a competent coaching search and qualified relacement for Coach Weis are just that - dreams.

According to Mike Frank at Irish Eyes, Weis will return as head football coach next year.

With the timing outlined in my previous post, I have to figure that after whiffing on the top candidates, Kelly passed as well, leaving Swarbrick with no legitimate candidates to replace Weis.

Apparently nobody else wants this job, so we're stuck with the guy we've got.

I guess that means it's time to dust myself off, wipe away the tears, and try to climb back on the bandwagon.

Before the Syracuse loss, I was always on the Weis bandwagon, and thought that he would get it all figured out eventually. And I still think he's smart enough and works hard enough to get it turned around - eventually.

But I think this reclamation project is going to take much longer than I anticipated.

Next year, the team will be much better than this year. However, another big loss to USC seems inevitable, and with the way Weis has coached, another 2-3 losses seem inevitable as well. I feel like a new coach could have walked into this program and contended for a title NEXT YEAR. I don't feel the same about Weis.

In 2010, we'll be loaded with experience, depth, talent, and have a manageable schedule that could put us in a position to go to the promised land. And that's why I wanted a new coach now, because I'm not sure Weis can get Humpty-Dumpty put back together again in time for a title run in 2010. Oh, we're a shoe in for the BCS, but a title? I don't see it.

Time to hunker down and accept that Rome wasn't rebuilt in a day.


Weis needs to make some big changes in this offseason.

First of all, none of this "I'm not making any scapegoats" bullshit that kept the entire staff in place last year. It's time to make some changes.

Here's how I see things shaking out in the offseason:

Corwin Brown moves on to Eastern Michigan as their head coach. This guy is a great coach and will do well in his future career.

We'll move Tenuta to the Defensive Coordinator role, all by his lonesome. The defense will be his to do with as he will.

While I still have high hopes for Latina, it's likely that he will be gone. The fanbase needs blood, and Latina's name has been at the top of the list for almost three years now. Our running game is horrible, and that falls on the offensive line. Also, Andy Heck is sitting out there, waiting to be lured to South Bend.

Haywood needs to go. The offense was our weakness this year, and Haywood is also responsible for the running backs, who have underperformed this year. It's time for Weis to admit that he isn't the offensive coordinator anymore, and go hire somebody to take over. Of course, Weis will pick a guy that runs a pro-style offense, and that's fine, but Weis needs to be hands-off here, except for inpuit on the gameplan. If Swarbrick makes anything clear to Weis this offseason, it should be that Weis is responsible for finding the best available EXPERIENCED offensive coordinator available, and do whatever it takes to get him to South Bend.

The only way I accept not hiring an experienced offensive coordinator is if we promote Rob Ianello to the position. Ianello is too valuable an asset to this team to let him move on to greener pastures. He has done an outstanding job of coaching the receivers, and is the best recruiter in the game. He's been in this offensive system for a while now, and I have more faith in his competence than I have ever had in Haywood.

Keep Polian, and leave him in charge of special teams. I was not high on this kid the last couple of years, but he produced this year, and the special teams improved as the season went on. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Finally, we need a new defensive line coach. Again, open up the pocketbook here, and go get someone that kids like to play for. We've struggled in recruiting here, so we need someone who has a resume that stands on it's own. Oliver rode Minter's coattails into town, and just never left.

Keep Parmalee - Tight End recruiting has been spectacular, and the development of tight ends has never seen the slightest hiccup - from Fasano, to Carlson, to Rudolph. This guy stays right where he is.

The final change I'd like to see is Weis show some humility. He needs to come out to the fanbase and apologize for the past two seasons. He needs to give us a plan moving forward, and admit his fault in this nosedive. Weis often talks about how he doesn't read the press clippings, and doesn't know what's said about him. Maybe it's time to start listening a little bit. You can't change perception if you don't even know what that perception is. Start acting like someone who is rolling up his sleeves and getting to work - no more talk. We need results.

Finding a way to land Manti Te'o and ink the #1 overall recruiting class for next year would be a good way to start.


While I'm disappointed that Weis is back next year, I'm still hopeful for the future of the program. At this point, I don't think there is much that Weis can do to get fired in the next couple of seasons, as the talent alone should be able to win 9 games next year, and 10 the year after that.

I know Weis is a smart guy. I know he works his ass off. I know he cares deeply about Notre Dame. And I desperately want him to succeed. I bleed Blue and Gold, and wanted him gone not because I dislike or disrespect him, but because he led this team into the worst two game stretch in history. And I'm tired of having my heart broken by this team.

Weis has some fences to mend this offseason.

And they say winning heals everything.

Coaching Search Rumormongering

With a deafening silence emanating from the athletics department this week, I have to believe that Jack Swarbrick is quietly and quickly attempting to determine whether there is a viable replacement for Coach Weis before he meets with him on Monday.

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Brian Kelly announced this week that he is not interested in leaving Cinci, which coincided with the announcement of a major renovation/expansion of Nippert Stadium. Like many hot coaching prospects, Kelly used the mention of his name for several open jobs to leverage against his athletics director to get what he needs for his program.

Also, some rumors from Weis' recruiting trip are trickling in as well. Rumors have it that Weis is telling the recruits that he will be roaming the Notre Dame sidelines next year. Also, he is apparently being as effective as ever despite the firestorm of media criticism.

While using such little information that is out there to make guesses at what is going on behind the scenes is shaky at best, I have faith that Swarbrick is doing the right thing for this program. He is probably conducting preliminary interviews outside the public view, probably via telephone, to determine whether there is a coach interested that he could hire.

Kelly effectively taking his name out of the running tells me (if Swarbrick is doing his due diligence) that Swarbrick has looked at Kelly, perhaps talked to him, and has moved on with the search. If true, this would tell me one of two things - either that there is a bigger fish on the hook (Urban Meyer, anyone?), or that Swarbrick has swung and missed on the top end coaches.

Therefore, at this point, I have to believe that Weis will either be retained due to the unavailability of a suitable replacement, or that Swarbrick is engineering a coup worthy of the Golden Dome.

It looks like, either way, we won't have an answer until at least Monday. Also, don't be incredibly surprised if nothing at all happens on Monday. No sweeping pronouncements of support for Weis, and no announcements of a coaching change.

If Swarbrick is really talking to someone like Urban Meyer about the position, he will likely have to wait until after that team's bowl game to make the announcement.

Of course, everything I type here is the worst kind of speculation and conjecture, but my hope is that we'll see a timeframe something like this:

Monday - Weis and Swarbrick meet, ND releases a press release stating that the irish have accepted (insert bowl bid here). No mention of firing Weis, and no mention of Weis being retained for next season, just that there will be no coaching changes at this time.

Bowl game week - Weis is asked repeatedly about his future at ND, and he continues to say that he is the head football coach at Notre Dame. He continues to say that, as far as he knows, he will be coaching the Irish next year. And as far as he knows, he will.

After the bowl game, Weis and Swarbrick will schedule another meeting after the holiday season (early new year), to give everyone a chance to go home for the holidays.

Very shortly after the championship game (first week in January), Notre Dame has a press conference announcing Coach Weis' resignation and the hiring of the new coach - Urban Meyer.

Maybe Weis will even be retained in some capacity, maybe in a Director of Football Operations/Recruiting Director type of position. On paper, this would be a promotion, and could save face for everyone involved. Weis can remain on the sidelines and be welcome at his alma mater (and not to have lied to the recruits during his recruiting trip this week). That would also take care of the buyout issue, as Weis would simply renegotiate a contract for his new position. And keeping Weis on staff guarantees that the players committed to the Irish (Wood, Evans, etc.) at this point have no reason to waver on their commitments.

Urban Meyer puts together his staff, retaining some of the existing staff (Rob Ianello and Tenuta have earned an opportunity to stay on the new staff). Weis continues the recruiting effort while Meyer gets settled in, and the Irish make a late surge, inking the #1 class in the country.

Meyer comes in and wins a National Championship in year 1, with Dayne Crist at QB. Weis gets a championship ring and much of the credit for getting this program back on track, and the Irish are back where they belong.


At this point, all of this is wishful thinking, and for all I know, nothing will happen and Weis will be given his 5th year. Or maybe we will fire coach on Monday, name an interim coach (Corwin, probably, to help with his chances at Eastern Michigan), and then do the whole protracted coaching search, complete with snubs by the usual candidates for the job (Gruden, Stoops, Meyer, Kelly, etc.) and hire another mediocre candidate with lots of "potential." Nobody at this point knows anything but Swarbrick and Jenkins.

And they aren't talking.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Notre Dame Football Annual Review

With the end of the season upon us, Jack Swarbrick has stated that the program will be evaluated at the end of the season, using the same metrics as every other program. Therefore, I thought I'd take a stab at evaluating the football team from Swarbrick's perspective, rather than the perspective of a pissed off and disappointed fan.

So, here are the metrics (in order of importance) I would use to evaluate the football program, were I the AD:

Coaching staff review: Evaluate the performance of each assistant coach, and make a determination as to whether or not each of those coaches should be retained.
Revenue generation: A cost/benefit analysis will be conducted for each program.
Alumni and fan support: Donations are not just financially important to the school, but are in fact a measurable that impact a school's reputation nationally.
Public relations: The public image of Notre Dame is very important not only for the University, but indeed for the entire Catholic faith.
Recruiting student-athletes: The lifeblood of every program, a coach must demonstrate an ability to attract top talent.
Academic commitment: Notre Dame is committed to the athletic performance of every part of the University, and that includes sports teams. GPA, grad rates, etc.
Moral integrity: Notre Dame is a Catholic institution of higher learning, and has always held themselves to a higher standard than their peers.
Program direction: Here are the ultimate measurables - wins and losses, rankings, and championships. This metric also looks at the overall direction of the program, and whether on the field performance meets expectations.


Corwin Brown - Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs
Total defense rank: 39
Scoring defense rank: 42
Pass defense rank: 30
Pass efficiency defense rank: 17
Recommendation: Retain

Michael Haywood - Offensive Coordinator/Running Backs
Total offense rank: 74
Scoring offense rank: 85
Rushing offense rank: 98
Fumbles lost rank: 77
Recommendation: Do not retain

Rob Ianello - Receivers Coach/Recruiting Coordinator
Pass offense rank: 46
Recruiting ranking (freshman class): #1 in country
Recommendation: Retain

John Latina - Asst. Head Coach (Offense)/Offensive Line
Rush offense rank: 98
Sacks allowed rank: 47
Tackles for loss allowed rank: 70
Recommendation: Do not retain

Jappy Oliver - Defensive Line Coach
Rushing defense rank: 62
Sacks rank: 82
Tackles for loss rank: 112
Recommendation: Do not retain

Bernie Parmalee - Tight Ends Coach
Developed Kyle Rudolph after several key losses
Recommendation: Retain

Brian Polian - Special Teams Coach
Punt return yardage defense rank: 34
Kickoff return yardage defense rank: 1
Net Punting rank: 60
Punt return rank: 52
Kick return rank: 85
Field goal rank: 32
Recommendation: Retain

Ron Powlus - Quarterbacks Coach
Pass offense rank: 46
Passes had intercepted rank: 106
Pass efficiency rank: 69
Jimmy clausen: 64th pass efficiency, 31st passing yards/gm, 24th total passing
Recommendation: Toss-up

Jon Tenuta - Asst. Head Coach (Defense)/Linebackers
Pass defense rank: 30
Pass efficiency defense rank: 17
Rushing defense rank: 62
Sacks rank: 82
Tackles for loss rank: 112
Recommendation: Toss-up

(I don't know enough about the grad assistants to grade them)


Notre Dame football is the most valuable property in college football, and generates the most revenue of any program in college sports. However, the revenue for this property is not being maximized. There will be only minimal bowl revenue, and national merchandising is down.


While I don't have measurables for this criterion, I do live in South Bend, write this blog, peruse message boards, attend games, talk to fellow alumni, fans, staff and other college football fans every chance I get.

Alumni and fan support is at a low we haven't seen since Ty Willingham was fired. There are still fans out there that want to see Weis retained, but the overall sense is that Weis is not achieving.

The consensus seems to be that the coach should be fired (or resign), and that we should replace him with a Tier 1 coaching candidate. However, there is a lot of fear about our ability to attract a Tier 1 coach.

Unlike the Willingham firing, I have not heard, anecdotally or otherwise, that Weis' recent failures have led to the wwithholding of donations to the University. Yet.


Hansen, South Bend Tribune

Wieneke, South Bend Tribune

Carroll, South Bend Tribune

Morrissey, Chicago Tribune

Greenstein, Chicago Tribune

Fort-Wayne Journal Gazette

Chicago Sun Times

O'Leary, Blue and Gold

Incoming class recruiting rank: 10/11
Freshman class recruiting rank: 2/2
Sophomore class recruiting rank: 8/11
Junior class recruiting rank: 8/5
Senior class recruiting rank: 40/27


Academic Progress Report

Coach Weis has done an excellent job of maintaining the academic integrity of the football program throughout his time here. His teams have high team GPAs, the players graduate, and there have been no major academic violations. (Rumor had it that Darrin Walls was involved in some academic misconduct, but that is completely unsubstantiated. If true, it may impact this review.)


Weis has often been called onto the carpet for his personal conduct, whether it be his abrasive personality or his penchant for cursing like a sailor. However, taken as a whole, Weis is an excellent ambassador for our football team, media reports notwithstanding. His charity work with Hannah and Friends, and stories like "Pass Right" show an ongoing commitment to social justice and a personal moral integrity.


Expectations: Notre Dame football is a Tier 1 football program, with the most storied history of success. In terms of wins and losses, Notre Dame should be able to maintain their winning percentage at 75% (currently 0.738). Also, Notre Dame needs to be able to average 1 AP National Championship per decade, and winning a Heisman Trophy on average every 15 years. BCS bowl games should be reached 2 out of every three years, and the Gator or Cotton Bowl on the odd year. Notre Dame should never be in a lower bowl game, much less have a losing season, except in rare instances. Bowl games should be won at above a 50% rate.

Winning Percentage: Notre Dame football has a 6-6 record (0.500) this season. Coach Weis has a 28-21 overall record (0.571). The past two years, Weis has posted a 9-15 record (0.375), an all-time low for Notre Dame over a two year stretch.

National Championships: Weis has not won a championship at Notre Dame.

Bowl games: In Weis' four-year career, he has had 1 losing season, where Notre Dame did not attend a bowl game. This is unacceptable. Weis did make a BCS game 2 out of 4 years, which is good, but not at standard. He has lost both bowl appearances. He is bowl eligible this year, but is going to go to a lower tier bowl, which is also unacceptable.

Direction: There is no evidence that this team is improving at a satisfactory rate. There are serious questions about Weis' ability as a coach and in player development. Recruiting has been corrected, and there is a lot of talent coming in to the University, but Weis has been unable to translate that into on-the-field success.


Weis has not met the expectations for the football program on the football field. His inability to field a competitive football team has damaged alumni and fan support, and has led to a firestorm of public relations outcry for a change. Several of his assistant coaches have not performed up to expectations. The areas which he promised the most improvement in, specifically offensive performance, have been severely deficient.

It is my recommendation that, after this review, a search for a new football coach be undertaken immediately. Allow Weis to remain on as head coach through the bowl game while we determine if there is a coach available and willing to take the position. If a suitable upgrade can be found, we will terminate Coach Weis' contract at the end of the season. If not, we will retain him for one more season, and re-evaluate then.


Weis was supposed to be an "offensive genius" who would bring us a "decided schematic advantage."

We just amassed 91 total yards in a game against our biggest rival - only 9 of which came in the first half.

In year four of the Weis era.

Year four.

I was a Weis supporter for 3 and a half years of his tenure here, but the stretch of games starting with Boston College was the worst Notre Dame football I've seen since... the first 6 games of last year. Which was the worst I've seen since... ever.

Much like the end of the Willingham era, when the team seemed to be regressing, the Weis team seems to be regressing as well.

Unlike the end of the Willingham era, I have hope for the future. This roster is stacked, and if we quickly hire a top notch coach, the recruiting class coming in can be held together.

But Weis should resign. Now.

To be fair, USC's defense is tops in the country, and they had two weeks to prepare for the Irish. But Weis' own book is titled 'No Excuses.' This is our rival, and the program by which we should measure our success.

Paul Johnson came into Georgia Tech and beat their rival in year one. And lest you think that Notre Dame faced a tougher task last night, remember that Georgia was preseason #1. And Georgia Tech was a team in it's first year of installing a triple option attack.

Notre Dame was in year four, and couldn't get a first down, much less a win.

While the firings of Davie and Willingham hurt like breaking up with a girlfriend, this breakup feels more like a divorce. Weis has become an integral part of the Notre Dame family (despite the charges of his arrogance and abrasiveness), and is committed to the school and the community.

But this marriage just isn't working anymore.